Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions about the Global Village program and trips.
- What are Global Village trips?
- Global Village trips are short-term service trips designed to give concerned people the opportunity to contribute to Habitat’s work firsthand. Global Village participants learn about poverty and housing issues on a local and global scale and begin to understand community development challenges.
Participants become an active part of HFHI’s ecumenical Christian ministry and mission to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness worldwide. Global Village team members give of themselves as they work alongside partner families and local volunteers of all backgrounds, races and religions. Learning about the host community’s culture, language and social practices, as well as developing new skills and confidence, are additional benefits of participating in a Global Village trip.
- What is the mission of Habitat for Humanity? What is the mission of Global Village?
- Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. HFHI seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Global Village supports the mission of Habitat for Humanity by working in partnership, providing cross-cultural experiences, mobilizing volunteers, building sustainable relationships and generating resources in the hope of creating long-term advocates for affordable housing.
- How did the Global Village program begin?
- The Global Village program began in 1989 in response to increasing requests for international short-term volunteer opportunities. In the first year, 12 countries invited 30 teams to participate in house-building work and to learn about Habitat in the host country. In 2013, the Global Village program coordinated 412 teams, engaging more than 5,433 volunteers. In addition, teams from the U.S. raised more than $3.2 million to support Habitat’s global building programs.
- Where can Global Village teams go?
- Check the catalog overview for a list of all of the programs currently in the Global Village trip catalog, or visit the public Global Village site to see the most current available Global Village work trips.
Global Village program structure
- How does the Global Village program work?
- There are two types of Global Village short-term housebuilding teams: closed-registration teams. Each Global Village team is led by a volunteer team leader who plays a pivotal role in making the trip a success and ensuring that the participants have a rewarding experience. The Global Village team leader is a representative of the Habitat for Humanity mission and ministry. His or her responsibilities are the same for each team type.
Closed-registration teams are made up of participants associated with the same partnering organization—church, school, university, corporation, family, circle of friends, civic club, associations, Habitat affiliate, etc. The team leader is a member of the partnering organization or group.
Open-registration teams are made up of individuals who apply to join a Global Village team via the Global Village website. Open team leaders may not know any of the applicants before the trip. At the time they are selected to join, the majority of open team members have not previously met.
- Who are team members?
- Individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to participate in the Global Village volunteer program. The minimum age for participants on an international or domestic work team build site is 16 years, or older if required by the hosting program or child labor laws. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or travel as part of a team from an organization that has signed a memorandum of understanding [PDF] with Habitat for Humanity. There is no maximum age limit.
Participants must be in good health. Work assignments often require strenuous manual labor.
- Who are team leaders?
- Global Village team leaders come from all walks of life, backgrounds and experiences. The common thread is a desire to help others, a passion for travel, the time to organize and lead a team and a dedication to the Habitat mission and ministry. Team leaders are recruited, interviewed and trained by the HFHI Global Village team. They must have:
- A clear understanding of Habitat’s mission.
- Attended Global Village team leader training.
- Participated in at least one Global Village trip.
- Experience with international travel.
- Been approved to serve as a team leader by Global Village staff.
- U.S. team leaders must be 24 years of age or older.
If you are not yet a trained Global Village team leader, but are interested in becoming one, learn more about becoming a Global Village team leader.
Planning a Global Village trip
- What are the responsibilities of trip participants, team leaders, Global Village program staff and host coordinators?
- Read more about team roles and responsibilities.
- Who will I work with to plan my team’s trip?
- Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village staff will help you set up your Global Village trip. Once you submit a team proposal form, you will be assigned two specialists based on the region you are traveling to: a volunteer engagement specialist and a support coordinator. They will contact you and guide you through the planning process. Once your trip is confirmed, you will also work with a host country coordinator to plan your trip.
This team effort will allow us to most effectively help both team leaders and hosting programs prepare for your trip, so be sure to copy each one on any email communication. Of course, you can always contact Global Village staff with any general questions by calling 1-800-422-4828, ext. 7530 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- When should I begin planning my trip?
- All team leaders should begin planning trips at least six months before the departure date.
Proposals for trips to Latin America and the Caribbean should be submitted no less than six and no more than nine months prior to departure. Due to the LAC area’s hosting capacity and volume, this timeline ensures our team can best support you in the Global Village trip planning process. Proposals for trips to regions other than LAC can be submitted more than nine months before departure.
- What is a typical team size?
- Team sizes vary depending on the group and host country capacity. Program profiles include information about the team size. Most budgets will be based on teams of 10 or 12 participants.
- What is the purpose of maintaining a standard budget and itinerary for each project location?
- The value of the standard budget and itineraries is three-fold:
- Standard itineraries help us ensure that all Global Village participants have a meaningful and educational service experience. This allows participants to make serving families and learning about poverty and housing issues the central focus of their trip.
- The standard budget and itinerary provides a consistent trip model that works best for the host program, allowing them to spend more time on other important tasks.
- By providing a standard model for each project location, we also minimize the time invested by the leader, host and sending programs in recreating a new trip itinerary and budget for each Global Village trip. This allows for more time and energy to be used toward expanding Habitat’s work.
- Why is R&R (rest and relaxation) not included in the standard itinerary and budget?
- The goal of the program is to provide a meaningful volunteer service experience for both the volunteers and hosts. We listened to feedback from past participants who wanted more time spent on construction and education activities, and our standard itineraries now help us ensure building and education are at the heart of each Global Village trip and planning process. There will be plenty of opportunities for in-town cultural excursions during the evenings and weekends on many trips. Removing R&R from the budgets also ensures that money raised goes toward building efforts, helping us all be good stewards of donors’ money.
- Can I still do R&R?
- Certainly. We recognize the value of R&R activities and encourage international exploration. Team leaders who want to do extra traveling can contact agencies or tour companies that can provide additional and separate support for planning R&R activities. If a team leader elects to create an optional R&R trip for the team, your Web flyer will note “consult with team leader regarding optional R&R plans.” If a team leader creates an optional R&R plan, all funds will need to be paid directly to the tour or travel agency, not to the team leader or to Habitat for Humanity.
Volunteers also have the option to extend their trip independently.
- Can a team leader request a shorter or longer itinerary?
- Yes. While we encourage team leaders to use the standard budgets and itineraries created in partnership between the U.S. sending program and the host country, your volunteer engagement specialist can work with you to adjust the itinerary for your group as necessary.
- What does the standard budget include?
- The budgets include the cost of the team traveling to and from the host program once in-country, as well as their daily expenses while working with the host program. Standard budgets include expenses for a mobile phone, first-aid kit and a 10% contingency fee.
The standard budgets are based on a minimum of 10–12 participants, including the team leader, unless otherwise noted.
This range does not include team leader costs, but team leaders may incorporate their costs into the budget. The team leader may pay or fundraise for all or portions of his or her expenses, or incorporate some or all of the cost and airfare into the budget. The team leader needs to complete part three of the budget form if he or she plans to incorporate costs in the team budget.
- How were the costs determined?
- We have worked to make trips as affordable as possible, while also ensuring that budgets will cover the team’s costs and donation. Budgets were developed with input from both the U.S. sending program and host program. Trip costs are impacted by any of the following:
- In-country costs, often affected by inflation and higher fuel prices.
- All trip costs include a donation to the national program. The host program sets this donation amount.
- Team size, based on the minimum team size and past teams’ ability to fill.
- Ten percent contingency due to fluctuation in the U.S. dollar and other unpredictable expenses.
Please know that we value the financial commitment you and donors make toward Global Village trips and kept this in mind as the budgets were created.
- Can I have a co-leader?
- If team leaders wish to co-lead, they will need to review the budget with the volunteer engagement specialist to determine the subsidy for co-leaders. Team size, location and trip cost are all factors that impact the subsidy amount. Co-leaders can fundraise for both trip cost and air fare.
- How often will the standard budgets be reviewed?
- The budgets will be reviewed on a regular basis. Particular adjustments will be made if there is a drastic change in the value of the U.S. dollar or a significant increase in the in-country expenses.
- How do I explain to participants why team leader costs are included in the budget?
- Global Village team leaders offer their services as volunteers to HFHI and to each team member. Team leaders are responsible for planning all aspects of the trip. Global Village team leaders put an incredible amount of time, energy and knowledge into furthering Habitat’s mission around the world and helping facilitate safe, meaningful experiences for thousands of volunteers. Team leaders are not paid for their work, but leader expenses may be incorporated into the team budget.
- How do I submit a trip proposal form?
- Once you have researched this catalog and thought about what kind of trip you want to lead and which area you would prefer to travel to, you must submit a Global Village team proposal form. A Global Village specialist will contact you within one week of submitting your form.
- What if I decide to cancel my trip?
- If a team leader cancels a confirmed Global Village trip, subsequent trips will only be confirmed for six months or more after their cancelled trip’s departure date. This policy ensures that team leaders are making every effort to follow through on all trips posted to the schedule and to ensure we best meet our commitments to host programs.
Using the Global Village trip catalog
- How do I use this catalog?
- The Global Village trip catalog has been designed to help team leaders plan their volunteer trips. Global Village staff will also use this catalog to coordinate trip details with team leaders and hosting programs. Check out the catalog overview for a full table of contents. Country descriptions, standard budgets, standard itineraries and travel resources are all included. Once you have decided your trip type, general dates and desired location, submit your Global Village team proposal form.
- Will the catalog change?
- Yes! It is important to know that this is an evolving document. This catalog will be constantly updated and expanded as new countries are added, country needs change and trip details are adjusted. Please check this catalog before each trip you plan. You can also get updates in the Global Village Team Leader Notes email newsletter (example.) If you are a trained Global Village team leader and are not receiving the e-newsletter, email email@example.com to be added to the list.
- What is included in each regional description and country profile?
- Each regional description includes an overview of the type of work Habitat is undertaking in that region’s countries, as well as statistics about the housing needs that remain. Each country profile includes general information on housing needs and the national Habitat program. Logistics about typical Global Village trips to host programs in each country is also included, as well as a standard itinerary, standard trip cost and available building months.
- Are there team leader updates?
- Yes! All Global Village team leaders should receive Team Leader Notes monthly emails. If you are a trained Global Village team leader and are not receiving the Team Leaders Notes e-newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list.
- How do I get more information?
- Habitat’s Global Village staff is happy to help. For more information, email email@example.com or call 1-800-422-4828, ext. 7530. If you have questions about a specific region or country, please see the regional volunteer engagement specialist contact information listed at the bottom of each regional profile and featured program Web page.